Virtual Escape Rooms -- Where Adult Learners Can Play!

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session

Watch This Session

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

When the first in-person escape room was created in 2007, who would have envisioned its conversion into the virtual classroom of today? This presentation explores the multitude of applications and benefits that virtual escape rooms offer in higher education and gives a glimpse into how easily they can be implemented.  


Tracy Tepley began her work with Rasmussen University in 2005, initially as a faculty member and later a Program Coordinator within the Early Childhood Education program. She moved into the Academic Dean role in 2010. Currently, she is the Academic Dean at the Blaine, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, and St Cloud campus locations. Tracy holds both a bachelor's and master's degree from North Dakota State University.

Extended Abstract

The goal of the presentation is to introduce virtual escape rooms as a learning and teaching methodology in order to create engagement and collaboration between students and faculty. As modalities such as distant and blended learning (e.g. HyFlex), have multiplied across the higher education landscape, creating ways to foster social learning, community building, and engagement within the classroom has become a higher priority in today’s environment.  

During the presentation we will explain the key components of using Google forms to create virtual escape rooms. This form of gamification, while being low-tech with the guise of complexity, allows for opportunities of interaction, enjoyment, and connection through turning a basic worksheet or lecture into a virtual experiential learning activity.   

We will also discuss the benefits of using virtual escape rooms in the classroom, specifically inquiry-based learning, diversified instruction, transferable skill development, and immediate feedback assessment techniques. 

Inquiry-based Learning 

Through the design of a virtual escape room students are presented with strategically designed questions, scenarios, case studies, and/or problems that require the students to analyze, evaluate, interpret, and discover concepts/competencies 

Diversified Instruction 
This method of instruction allows faculty to use various teaching strategies where the instructor may deliver the content in multiple ways (e.g. presentation or case study) or provide multiple ways to process the course content. In addition, offering various avenues to process information in different learning environments.  

Due to the nature of virtual escape room’s utilization of browser-based technology many socioeconomic barriers are removed/limited, thus allowing increased and equitable access to these academic activities via common and affordable devices such as a cell phone or Chromebook. 

In the end, a demonstration on how to use a virtual escape room in an educational learning environment will be provided.  

Transferrable Skills/General Education Skills
Escape rooms are innovative learning tools that bridge the physical and online learning environments. Their unique nature eliminates certain learning barriers while building transferable skills and promoting interaction within the group. We will highlight how the transferable skills of Communication, Critical Thinking, Digital Fluency, Information Literacy, and Diversity and Teamwork are promoted and constructed.  

Immediate Feedback Assessment Techniques 
These engaging academic activities can be used as informal assessments and evaluations. Instructors can turn their worksheets, quizzes, case studies, and more into informal/formative assessment tools that also provide immediate feedback to the learner. Immediate feedback is employed through the multiple attempts that are afforded to the student and the need to correct errors in order to “escape”.  Depending upon how the activity is built, one can embed evaluation questions and utilize the data analytics that Google Forms provides.